Time Flies

By: Chaunte McClure

As I was waiting in the University of South Carolina Aiken Convocation Center for the 2014 fall commencement to begin, I was sitting in disbelief that my youngest first cousin was about to join the ranks of being a college graduate. After all, It wasn’t long ago when I had her baby picture on my makeshift headboard in my dorm room. That was in 1994, my freshman year at USC. I looked over at my mom as we were patiently waiting for the processional and said, “Ma, can you believe it’s been almost 16 years ago that I was graduated from college?” She said, “It’s been that long?” Yes, Mom, it’s been that long.

time fliesGraduation day was one of the proudest moments of my life! Walking across that stage, hearing my family cheer for me, and knowing that I reached another milestone made this girl feel accomplished. Sixteen years later, I’m still proud of that. But wait, 16 years? I guess I thought I would be a recent college grad much longer, but time doesn’t stand still.

Remember when we were kids and it seemed like time moved along so slowly? It seemed like it took Christmas forever to come around again. How about when we couldn’t wait to grow up and leave our parents’ home? Yes, it seemed like that day would never come.

Now when you sit back and reminisce, you realize that time flies. Your babies aren’t babies any longer. You’re no longer that young, vibrant young lady. (Still vibrant and beautiful, but not quite as young.) And now you say, “Christmas will be here before you know it” because you know 12 months as an adult goes by a lot faster than it did when you were a kid.

As a matter of fact, this time next week boys and girls will be anticipating Santa’s arrival and many parents will be making final purchases to make Christmas Day special for their family. Gosh, I remember those Christmas Eve nights when I would be so afraid of Santa Claus. I would be sweating under the covers because I was afraid of that jolly old man donning a red suit and a white beard. That was torture. I’ve wondered if I’d do the Santa thing with my kids. I don’t know. It can be fun, but it can also turn into years of fear and Christmas Eve night sweats. (Whew! Glad those days are over.)

What do you tell your kids about Christmas? Do you tell them that Santa brings the gifts on a sleigh guided by reindeer? Do you tell them that Jesus Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas? Perhaps you tell both. I’d love to hear from you.

Until then, have a Merry Christmas! I look forward to sharing with you in the New Year.

Introducing Solids

By: Brady Evans

My baby, Benjamin, is now nearly 8 months old. People have been asking about him eating solids for the past 4 months. I suppose everyone is just excited about babies meeting milestones and eating solids is an exciting one. The older generation, especially, seemed super interested in finding out how Benjamin was doing with rice cereal.

benjaminThe truth of the matter is that Benjamin has never had rice cereal. He didn’t even eat a solid food until he was well over 6 months old. Nowadays the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. The reasoning is that you don’t want baby filling up on solid foods that don’t offer all the necessary nutrients (rice cereal) and refusing breast milk or formula which has all the essential nutrients baby needs.

Informing people that I planned not to introduce solids until Benjamin was 6 months old caused a lot of interesting discussions. The topics ranged from me, as a nursing mother, not being able to satisfy his hunger as he grew older (not true) to me, as a new mother, following the “rules” too closely. I kept my cool and mostly played the “ignorant new mom card” along with the “the pediatrician said…” card for the older generation who seem to live and die by doctor recommendations.

When it was time to introduce solid foods (when Benjamin was 6 months old), I really just didn’t want to. It seemed complicated. By the time I pick him up from work, I only get to see him for 1 hour per day before it is bed time. I didn’t want to spend that 1 hour shoveling food in his mouth. Additionally, he didn’t seem interested in food. It seemed he could care less about what I was eating, and why should I force him to eat fruits or vegetables when nursing was keeping him perfectly happy?

When he was nearly 7 months, I decided I’d go ahead and start feeding him solids, mostly because I wanted to introduce different tastes and textures to him and I thought it would be a good way to work on his fine motor skills. How does feeding a baby work on fine motor skills? We decided to skip pureed food. I wondered how babies were introduced food 200 years ago prior to Gerber baby food and the like. My husband and I agreed that pureed baby food wasn’t a necessity and that Benjamin could learn much more by feeding himself. Additionally, our nursing relationship was strong and I wasn’t feeling the need to fill him up on solids so he could sleep through the night. (Not that he was sleeping through the night – he’s not. I just am okay with an infant waking to eat or be comforted by mom, so I don’t prioritize that “milestone” either).

So, we introduced food via the mentality called Baby-led Weaning. In this situation, weaning doesn’t mean taking something out of his diet, but rather introducing solids. This all occurs on the baby’s terms and is based on his readiness. I steamed carrots, then cut them into thin strips that were twice as long as his fist. He could pick up the sticks and bring them to his mouth. Sometimes he broke off a piece, sometimes he just sucked on the stick. He just explored his foods, had fun, and ate on HIS terms rather than mine.

He gagged sometimes. I worried about choking. But at some point, a baby has to learn to chew, right? And why should a baby learn to chew after they’ve learned that food comes in pureed, easy-to-swallow forms? That seems backwards to me. They should learn to chew first and swallow second, in my opinion. And though Benjamin had no teeth when he started eating, he mashed up foods with his gums just fine. I made sure that the sizes of the foods were smaller than his throat and reviewed baby CPR and the Heimlich maneuver just in case.

After carrots he had shredded cheese, olives, and tomatoes. We were having tacos that night. It was super simple just to pull aside the taco fixings and allow him to explore the foods in his high chair. Other nights we had soup and we strained out the solids for him to eat.

Our approach to food is unconventional, at least among the other parents I interact with, but it has been totally positive. I love that Benjamin takes care of his own needs in his arena. He can eat whatever is available so little planning is required of me, and he’s learning about his hands, his tongue, and his mouth while feeding himself. If you are interested in Baby-led weaning, check out this website: http://www.babyledweaning.com/. 

An Every Woman Blog Reunion

Every Woman BloggerLast week, we hosted a dinner for the Every Woman Bloggers to celebrate the holidays and thank them for their dedication to our blog! It was a fun evening full of delicious food, wonderful stories, and a fun ornament exchange.

Our bloggers provide us with inspiration as they handle being mothers, wives, professionals, sisters, friends, and providers. Please join us in thanking them for sharing their lives with us!

 

 

Help Lexington Medical Center Reach 100,000 Views!

Have you seen Lexington Medical Center’s 2014 Christmas commercial yet? From thoughts about parenthood to the Christmas season, the commercial focuses on the importance of family – all from a baby’s perspective. We’re hoping to share this uplifting message of hope, health and joy with as many people as possible during the holidays. Our goal is 100,000 views. Please help us by watching the video on Facebook (here) and sharing the post with your family and friends.

Lexington Medical Center Christmas Commercial

This year’s commercial was filmed on the hospital campus. The 60-second spot features LMC staff members including doctors and nurses, and a cast of babies who were all born at the hospital. Children of LMC employees have speaking roles as the voices of the babies.

The commercial also highlights the exceptional maternity services at the hospital. Lexington Medical Center delivers more babies than any other hospital in the Midlands, and has been voted “Best Place to Have A Baby” by readers of Midlands news publications.

From our Lexington Medical Center family to yours, Merry Christmas.

Turning Five

By: Sherree Thompson

I’ve been pretty quiet lately. It’s amazing what you can see and hear when you’re not talking. I mean really see and hear….

I’ve been hearing my sweet babies push each other to the point of anger – that point when the gloves come off and the teeth come out. Sweet Daisy is no match for her brother’s strength, so she bites. He, on the other hand, squeezes like he is hugging her. Yeah, I have learned their boundaries, their I-have-had-it-and-now-it’s-your-turn limits.

On Wednesday Jesse will turn five. Five? I have asked myself how in the world he will be five already every day this month. I have reflected over these past years and how amazing it was when he joined our lives. It has been an amazing ride thus far. It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the word, but it has still been amazing. His entrance was anything but easy. He actually didn’t even want to come out. A week over-due, we finally caved in and did a c-section. It was a smooth surgery, but the following days were insane and blurred by stress and drugs.

Newborn

Jesse began to have a bit of swelling on his cranium. After days of us asking nurses about it, they rushed him to the NICU. They had just given me my last round of pain meds when they returned with the doctor and this big plastic box. The doctor gave me the papers to sign and my baby was on his way. It was the day I was to be discharged. They tried to rush my discharge so I could fill my prescriptions and then drive to meet Jesse at the NICU. I swear, that was the longest, slowest-moving time in my life.

As I’m writing this, my heart feels that same fear of the unknown. It’s the kind of fear that has no words and leaves you literally speechless. So, the drive to the NICU was very, very quiet. When my husband and I finally arrived, we quickly found where we needed to be and waited. It was this tiny waiting room. At that point, the tears started uncontrollably rolling. I’m so very grateful that God lead me to my husband. There we sat, first time parents, waiting to find out what was happening. Praying that whatever it was, it would be okay.

We were finally brought back to talk with the Doctor on duty. As we made our way through all the tiny, tiny babies, I thought our situation could be so much worse. I didn’t even know what our situation was yet. But seeing a three-pound child fighting like he did made me see a bit of silver lining. As it turned out, Jesse had bleeding between the layers in his head. There is a very technical term for it, but it’s something I have a hard time pronouncing. It was a scary sight to see. The Doc was fantastic in explaining that it WOULD be okay. No surgery was necessary. He explained how the healing process would work. How the body would reabsorb the blood. That it might even take a year for his head to shrink back to normal.

5th birthday

Parents always say what a blessing children are. What a special gift from God they are. When you are knee-deep in poop, your milk is leaking, and your home is a war-zone that is the last thing you want to hear. But looking back at everything that sweet kid has brought me, I can see what they are talking about. He has unintentionally taught me a lot about life and myself. He reminds me to slow down and just listen. To see the beauty in situations that shouldn’t have any. So today, I’m jumping on board with parents and counting him as such an amazing gift.

Happy birthday, my sweet boy!

Nuts About Coconut Oil? Know the Facts

By: Jennifer Benedetto MS, RD, LD at LMC

Dietary recommendations regarding fat intake seem to change with the decade. A recent report continued to question the “healthiest” type of fat. A March 2014 article in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that decreased saturated fat intake did not result in a decreased risk of heart disease. Following this surprising report, the media began to report that there was no harm in unlimited consumption of saturated fats like coconut oil, animal fat, and butter. If decreased amounts of saturated fat didn’t help, what’s the harm in eating more?

coconut oilHighly saturated coconut oil, in particular, is now being promoted as a cure for various health conditions including Alzheimer’s, heart disease and obesity. But is coconut oil actually beneficial?

Coconut oil contains high levels of saturated fat, higher levels than butter. Ninety-two percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated compared to 15% saturated fat in olive oil and 62% in butter. Unlike other oils, coconut oil can be solid or semisolid at room temperature due to the multitude of saturated chemical bonds. Conventional coconut oil is made from dried coconut that is pulverized, cooked and treated with chemicals. It is used in candies, coffee creamers and movie theater popcorn. Relatively new to the scene is virgin coconut oil which is extracted from fresh coconut meat. Virgin coconut oil is promoted as being healthier than conventional coconut oil. So should we be switching to coconut oil?

In regards to heart health, coconut oil like other saturated fats, increases “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. High levels of LDL contribute to heart disease. Liquid vegetable oils (olive, canola) do not increase LDL. On the other hand, coconut oil, like liquid vegetable oils, also increases “good” (HDL) cholesterol. But is this elevation in HDL beneficial? That is unclear.

For now, most experts agree that coconut oil is a better choice than butter or trans-fats but there is no evidence to suggest coconut oil should be substituted for liquid vegetable oils. People who regularly eat extra-virgin olive oil in place of saturated fats have a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke—and lower cholesterol.

As far as the other coconut oil health claims go, there is no solid science to back them up. More research is needed to support coconut oil’s purported therapeutic benefits. So for now, stick with the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines and choose unsaturated/beneficial fat sources and limit saturated fats to 7-10% of calories.

Bottom Line: saying something is not harmful does not mean it is good for you.

Merry Christmas from Lexington Medical Center

We’re pleased to present Lexington Medical Center’s 2014 Christmas commercial!

Filmed on the hospital campus, the 60-second spot focuses on the importance of family – all from a baby’s perspective.

You might recognize several LMC staff members. The babies in the commercial were born at our hospital. And, children of LMC employees have speaking roles.

Lexington Medical Center was voted “Best Hospital to Have A Baby” by readers of The State newspaper this year, and they deliver more babies than any other hospital in the Midlands.

You can watch the commercial on the hospital’s You Tube channel or during your favorite Christmas TV show this holiday season.

From our LMC family to yours, Merry Christmas.